Irish Red Cross National Services Day 

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Irish Red Cross volunteers will parade alongside 1,500 other members of the voluntary and statutory emergency services in Dublin tomorrow at an event which celebrates Ireland’s emergency services. 

The parade is in its sixth year and takes place on National Services Day which is a day of recognition launched by the Irish government to serve as an official thank you to Ireland’s frontline voluntary and statutory emergency and security services.

The Dublin Borough Area of the Irish Red Cross is providing ambulance cover for the parade and will have three crews strategically placed along the route. The parade starts at 12 noon at Parnell Square and finishes in Dublin Castle.

The Irish United Nations Veterans Association and the Search and Rescue Dog Association are just some of the other groups participating in the parade while there will be a range of vehicles including Blood Bikes, motorcycles and ambulances. A range of Irish Red Cross vehicles (including a Search & Rescue boat) are travelling from Cavan, Laois, Louth, Connemara, Monaghan and Wicklow for the parade while there will also be a colour party carrying the flag.

Tony Lawlor, National Director of Units with the Irish Red Cross says: “The Irish Red Cross is delighted to participate in today’s parade and we commend FESSEF and Seamus O’Neill for founding this event. The parade is a fantastic opportunity for us to show our appreciation for the ongoing support the Irish Red Cross receives from the general public, while also showcasing what we do and the services we provide. It is also a great day out for all the family.”

Dublin Castle will also be worth a visit from 11am-3.30pm today, not least for the bomb disposal demo, while there will also be abseiling and other skills on display. Vehicles and equipment can also be inspected up close by children and adults alike.


National Services Day and the parade originated from a football match fundraiser between the Irish Defence Forces and An Garda Síochána, organised by now retired primary school principal Seamus O’Neill. There was a lot of good will surrounding these charity games and Seamus wanted to capture that, as well as recognise the statutory and voluntary emergency services, as he felt nothing in the state paid tribute to their good work. Seamus pulled together volunteers from all the frontline services to form FESSEF, a voluntary non-profit organisation of which he is now chairperson.

FESSEF promotes communication, co-operation and friendship among the personnel of the national security and emergency services and also promotes goodwill among the public for the role played by service personnel in the performance of their duties.

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